USDA Removes DEA Testing Requirements for Hemp

The USDA has removed a requirement for the coming growing season that all hemp crops be tested by DEA-approved labs.

Full story after the jump.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Drug Enforcement Agency has remove the requirement that hemp crops be tested by DEA-registered laboratories for the upcoming growing season, Hemp Industry Daily reports.

During a meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the USDA, said that while the agency had reached an agreement with the DEA for this season, the law enforcement agency still expects states “to work with their laboratories to try to achieve certification for the 2021 crop year. The requirement was included in the USDA’s interim final rules for hemp production last October.

Josh Schneider, CEO of San Diego, California-based Cultivaris Hemp, told Hemp Industry Daily, that getting rid of the “ridiculous DEA testing requirement is a step in the right direction by the USDA.

Ibach also suggested that the USDA would change its guidelines about sampling and disposing of hemp but did not indicate what those changes might be.

“We’re going to provide more options and greater flexibility for states that are working with producers that need to provide more options for disposal or more commonly accepted ways to destroy that crop on the farm. There were a lot of comments about sampling, as well, so we’re open to that discussion to gain greater understanding.” – Ibach to Hemp Industry Daily

However, Seric Seenstra, of the advocacy organization Vote Hemp wrote on Twitter that while the rule change “will hemp for the season” it’s not what the group wanted or needed “for the industry to be successful.”

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, also signaled during the meeting that the agency is working on hemp-derived CBD regulations, and said that attempting to ban the products would be “a fool’s errand.”

“We have to be open to the fact that there might be some value to these products, and certainly Americans think that’s the case,” he said in the report. “But we want to get them information to make the right decisions.”

The comments by the federal officials from the agencies responsible for hemp regulations is the latest indicator of normalization for the industry. Since federal hemp legalization in 2018, the USDA has added the crop to several federal crop insurance programs, created pilot programs to serve hemp farmers, and awarded federal funds for hemp research to researchers at Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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